(James Vestal/Stars and Stripes)

Tokyo, Japan, October 1960: A spectator at the Asakusa Theater looks up to the stage where a female Japanese actor is in the middle of a Rakugo performance. A Rakugo performance — a type of comedic storytelling popular in the Edo era (1603-1869) — features a single storyteller who performs all the voices of the characters in the story as well as the narration. The storyteller wears a traditional kimono, and kneels on the stage in front of the audience using only a folding fan and small hand towel as props.

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